Experienced marketer Adam Oldfield, managing director of marketing automation platform Force24, provides an honest insight into how to turn emails into business growth, without laying out any cash…
OK, first thing’s first – to not spend ANYTHING may be pushing it! Even if a marketing department is using a free email distribution platform and artwork produced by an in-house designer, there is still a ‘cost’ involved, if you consider the resource that’s gone into bringing the communications to life.
However, you don’t have to commit to an elaborate design or expensive giveaways, for the email to capture the recipient’s attention and do the job intended. Neither do you need to over-invest marketers’ time in email communications – be efficient with your distribution and on-point with your messaging, to achieve the optimum ‘resource vs result’ ratio.
There are three straightforward tips to help ‘convert’ as many emails into sales as possible – some are based on digital marketing ‘science’ whereas others are, quite simply, a case of common sense!
Understand that whilst you can educate and inform a recipient every week of the year, you can probably only sell to them on one single day.
This is something many marketers refuse to accept. Their (perhaps understandable) fear is that they may miss that small window of opportunity to sell, especially as nobody can get inside the mind of every single prospective customer.
However, that’s not the customer’s fault, so, they don’t want to be bombarded with irrelevant pushy content when they’re not in the market to buy.
To give this some context, think about the motor industry. The average car buyer may purchase a new vehicle once every two years. So, they don’t want to receive emails about deals every day. But, an automotive firm can send them useful content, each week, so that the company becomes a trusted brand at the forefront of their minds. Themes include tips to prepare a car for winter, help when driving in adverse weather conditions, and mpg maximisation advice, to name just a few. This is a very specific example of course, but it probably translates to different purchasing scenarios.
Make the emails easy to read
Again, this is another seemingly obvious point, but one so many marketers overlook. From a functional perspective, emails should render perfectly on whichever device the recipient chooses to use. Some simple testing – and just a dash of effort – will ensure this happens without fail.
Next, the content has to be engaging, accurate and personalised, with ideally a little more than ‘Hi Steve’. If Steve has spent the past 10 years enjoying cruise holidays, will he engage with ski-season highlights, for example? Probably not. But he may enjoy reading about the build of a new ship, or the commissioning of a new Michelin starred chef.
Finally, when it comes to sending content that the individual is likely to really want to know about, package it up so that it is easy to download, take away and/or digest at their leisure. It doesn’t need to be anything more complicated than a clean-looking pdf.
Don’t rely on email alone
Email is a widespread communication method for modern marketers because it is perceived as non-intrusive and a relatively quick and easy channel to manage. But there are a couple of things to remember here – despite its popularity, not everyone engages with email, especially as inboxes are becoming increasingly crowded with useless ‘noise. And, sometimes, people are ready for a conversation – a chat with a real person. This is invariably what helps convert the email into a sale, or turn a prospect into a client etc.
The challenge here – as with tip number 1 – is to identify the best window of opportunity for the more humanised interaction. The best way to do this is to develop a ‘lead score’ for recipients, which helps to trigger when a conversation is most likely to be of value to the individual, and when it is worth the salesperson’s effort (again, for maximum ‘resource vs result’ benefit).
Lead scores will be based on different metrics, per business, but a useful starting point could be X email opens, X visits to a website, X minutes spent on a page and/or the download of a key asset such as a brochure.
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